Friday, March 14, 2014

Ball Joints

I've been trying to save up for 6 new tires on the old motorhome. I finally gave up deciding to save up for 2 tires at a time. I have six total, with 4 in back that are duallys, which mean all 4 share one rear axle. I'm always trying to push my book sales and work on more books. This is easier said than done, but I do have mountains of stories piled up every where. But back to the daggum tires... in the deep south we say "tars"...

My 2 front tries began wearing in odd spots. This happened after a gawd-awful detour that had vehicles driving all over the braille strips and funny little square reflectors that are positioned on some roads to remind drivers to wake up and not wander around the lanes. It was a horrendous detour, designed by someone who clearly hated cars. Add to that *ahem* that I may have accidentally hit a curb one day while trying to enter a parking lot in too big a hurry. I guess the alignment began shifting.

I'm learning to IGNORE the other drivers that live with their horns blaring. If I need to slow down to turn slowly so as to miss hitting the curb, by golly they just have to wait. Honest to goodness, it seems like at every traffic light, someone beeps when the light turns green. It's crazy. Well, this winter, I've only driven my RV 4 times in 4 months. That is my contribution to staying out of traffic and being green for the planet.

In March 2010, I took my RV on a trip, I drove about 20 miles before hitting a rotten detour that had us driving down the shoulder of the interstate. Once I got past that nightmare, the heavens opened up, pouring down rain so thick, so fast, that I had to drastically reduce speed to see anything at all.

When the storm passed, traffic was fast and furious with cars thick as an ant farm beneath a picnic table.

My hands were gripping the steering wheel so tightly they were going numb. A few months later I bought a memory foam steering wheel cover. This has been heaven on earth. It gives me a comfortable grip that is not cold nor hot. It somehow reminds me that I don't need to lock my hands so tightly that they go numb. The few times I've driven someone else's car that didn't have this memory foam steering cover, I felt a tad confused. It surely will spoil one rotten. It's comfy and it gives me confidence in driving for some strange reason.

Back to that first trip, after detours, rain storms and heavy traffic, I was so exhausted, I pulled over at the next rest area. Checking my clock, I was crestfallen to discover I had been on the road for one hour and ten minutes not the four or five hours I imagined.

It took me 2 days to reach my friends in Orlando. I was still pretty sick and wore out. I slept for 3 days, jut getting up to toss down some soup, briefly visit, then snoozing again.

About a month later, I managed to drive a 100 miles to rendezvous with another friend who met up with me to camp at Long Point Park, a beautiful little island in the Indian River Lagoon on the east coast of Florida.

My little old rig at Long Point Park in March last year (2013).

I returned to park at my friends' house in Orlando. That month they convinced me to adopt a pet, so I began the big search for a nearly free dog with a tear jerking story. Along came Harley who I agreed to adopt over the phone, sight unseen. That little bit of fluff needed me and I needed him. We formed a strange relationship, then a few weeks later took off to see the wild blue yonder.

It's so hard for me to believe that 4 years later, Harley and I are both still alive. We're still in this little old motorhome which keeps presenting more and more challenges.

On the trip to Florida last autumn, I seemed fatigued all the time. It's hard to tell if it's me or the RV is requiring too much steering which can be exhausting too.

Yesterday when they mounted the tires, I expected them to give it an alignment and I would be on my way to happier driving. I have to leave soon to head up to my volunteer workamping assignment on Lake Hartwell.

Well, the mechanics don't recommend I go anywhere anytime soon until I replace the ball joints on the front end then get it aligned. Grrrr...

Today I have studied all I can find out about ball joints, what they do and what happens when they fail. That was so exhausting I had to take a nap. Matter of fact, yesterday they took so long working on my RV, I had to climb in back and snooze.

It's like I am battery operated and my battery gives out twice a day. Once I recharge with a nap, then I am able to plow forward again. It's all part of healing.

Ball joints. Who'd a thunk it? I guess that has to be moved up the list of work, to the top. I always have projects ongoing trying to hold this heap of parts together and call it home.

Life is goof!

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Earth's Biggest Selection!
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1 comment:

  1. While ball joints ARE important, you should get several opinions about how bad yours are. And how much it will cost to replace them.

    Most "big" shops will want you to replace all of them at once -- since they've got it on the lift, and you've got your checkbook open. They'll claim they can't POSSIBLY align your vehicle without doing all of the joints.

    Shop around for a small, single-shop joint that has their own alignment equipment. Your rig is so old that it doesn't need all the new-fangled laser equipment. So don't go to a brand new garage.

    It's quite possible that only one or two joints are really awful -- those are the ones that might come completely loose and cause you big trouble.

    Two ball joints at a non-dealer shop for a rig your age should be about $300. (I guessed, but you can use this site to get a really good estimate. http://www.automd.com/repaircost/estimate/ )

    Wheel alignment should be about %65. Don't pay more for fancy equipment, your truck wouldn't benefit from the precision of their expensive equipment, anyway.

    Ask us (your buddies) for help here if you need it.

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